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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JIM MULLEN ORGAN TRIO

Catch My Drift

Diving Duck DDRCD 019

 

 

1. Deep In A Dream

2. For My Lady

3. Samba de Aviao

4. Lonely Town

5. High Wire (the Aerialist)

6. Esquecendo Voce

7. You Can’t Hide Love

8. Maxine

9. Declaration Of Love

10. Daydream

Jim Mullen – Guitar

Mike Gorman – Organ

Matt Skelton - Drums

 

Jazz fans may think of the organ trio as being a potent ensemble with the power of a high-speed locomotive. However, this trio is different: mostly moderate and not too assertive. This may result from the fact that, when the trio went into the studio to record the album, they found that the Hammond organ there didn’t work, so Mike Gorman had to use a portable Nord two-manual organ that he had in his car. Whatever the reason, it makes for a pleasurable listening experience, particularly as Jim Mullen has a warm, velvety guitar tone, and Mike Gorman plays with restraint and subtlety.

Jim Mullen says he gave the album its title because he wanted it to consist of tunes he enjoyed rather than a repertoire forced upon him by some “men in suits”. He had the freedom to do this because the record label is a comparatively small affair run by a session player.

Mullen’s choice of tunes is eclectic, including several rarities. He starts off with a speedy version of Deep in a Dream, a neglected song which deserves to be heard more often. For My Lady is a seductive ballad composed by harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans. Samba de Aviao is a hustling bossa nova with several key changes, negotiated skillfully by the trio. It is by Antonio Carlos Jobim, as is Esquecendo Voce.

Admirers of Morrissey-Mullen (the jazz-fusion group which featured Jim Mullen with Dick Morrissey in the seventies and eighties) will be glad to hear You Can’t Hide Love, an Earth, Wind and Fire tune which Morrissey-Mullen played in the seventies. This is one of the few tunes on the CD in which you can hear drummer Matt Skelton clearly, as he is almost inaudible for much of the album. Fortunately, he can be heard much better when he contributes well-constructed solos and breaks.

Georgie Fame wrote the ballad Declaration of Love, and it is tenderly delivered by Mullen and Gorman. The album ends with Daydream, a gorgeous Ellingtonian melody. Here and elsewhere, you can hear how Jim Mullen backs Mike Gorman’s solos with discreet guitar chords.

This is a generally understated album but that doesn’t mean that it’s the dreaded “smooth jazz”. Instead it’s skilled and thoughtful.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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